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When to Pick Up the Phone vs. Writing an Email

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When to Pick Up the Phone vs. Writing an Email

Advertising Agency in L.A.

Your business is built on good customer service, which means responding to client needs quickly and effectively. Although some prefer one means of contacting clients over another, there are certain times when it is better to pick up the phone rather than email a customer. Here are some of those situations.

To apologize. Saying you’re sorry to a customer who feels hurt means much more than sending them an apologetic email. A phone call can convey how heartfelt your apology is over the phone, giving you a much better chance of assuaging your customer’s hurt feelings. It may benefit you to write out beforehand the things you’d like to say over the phone if you’re afraid of not knowing just what to say. The important point is to sound authentic in your apology.

To answer questions. When you anticipate being asked a lot of questions, you could save yourself a lot of time by picking up the phone and calling. Email chains where questions and answers go back and forth can take precious time. Phone calls are a conversation in real-time that have a greater chance of staying on track with questions which may have been asked already. It can be handy however, to send a follow-up email after a phone conversation.

To un-complicate things. Customers attempting to navigate a complex series of steps can be better served by speaking to you over the phone. A conversation offers the context others need when they are taking steps one at a time and may have numerous questions along the way.

To answer an (old) email. There’s a good chance your inbox is flooded with emails, many of which you won’t have time to read. Related to an aforementioned point, a phone call shows you care when you may have inadvertently missed an email about something important. A phone call can show that you want to make an effort to follow up with an email you missed, sending the message that the sender is a priority.

To discuss a personal matter. Again, a phone call makes others feel important. Therefore, when personal issues come up such as a family emergency, medical issue, or anything else, don’t bother with an email. Have an organic conversation. As it happens, phone calls typically instill a feeling of empathy in the other person. Thus, if it is possible, a phone call is a quicker and more personal way of addressing sensitive matters that arise as a part of life.

To discuss an urgent matter. Even emails labeled “urgent” can be neglected amid the multitude of emails you receive in a given week. In addition to stirring up feelings of empathy, a phone call emphasizes urgency in preventing an email from going unread. If you are enable to reach the person via phone, leave a voicemail and send a follow-up email with a summary of your voicemail message. Leave the details for a phone call: being brief is a good way to respect their time.

Emails certainly will have a larger and larger impact in the workplace. Phone calls, however, are not to be neglected. They have their place, and using them at the right time can help you save face and get your point across much better than an email.


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